(eTN) – Although several key African airlines have complied with the EU Emission Trading Scheme, and at a very substantial cost, the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) has now taken up the matter once again with a public statement issued from the association’s office in Nairobi, opposing the launch of it and demanding wider consultations between the European Union and affected countries around the world.
This happened after Chinese airlines have vowed not to comply and American airlines have taken the matter to court, paving the way for a potentially crippling trade war between the EU on one side and America and Far Eastern countries on the other side of the divide, with independent analysts and observers estimating that the damage to Europe’s trading position in the world could take a serious hit.
The uncompromising stand by the EU Commission, now also hiding behind a ruling by the European Court, that they have the right to impose such unilateral schemes, had also not helped as the wisdom of the move continues to be challenged from around the world.
There is, in particular, emerging talk of “punishing” the EU as a trade block by increasing trade between the opponents of the scheme and, in particular, sidelining European attempts to get rich mineral and mining concessions in Africa by giving access to such resources to North American and Asian competitors.
Said a regular source from Nairobi a few days ago: “… so, of course, we have to comply, because otherwise we can risk huge fines or even have an aircraft detained. But we support the initiative of AFRAA and have for a while said the EU should engage in further talks and not slap the rest of the world with unilateral taxes.”
At the same time, the EU’s aviation black list has also come under fire and scrutiny again, as, in particular, African airlines have been banned from the EU’s air space. Here, the same source said; “… but, of course, we are aware of safety issues in countries like Sudan or Congo, which have the worst record in Africa, if not the world. But then look at Russia, they had lots of crashes, too, and there is no blanket ban for them like we Africans are suffering. But then Russia has muscle, has influence, has oil and gas, and the EU will not dare treat them in such an openly contemptuous manner as they treat us.
“As aviators, we all agree with the need to improve safe operations, adhere to maintenance requirements and train crews in line with international ICAO standards, but we often feel the EU has a hidden agenda and no amount of denials has changed that, in fact, some of their denials read like a confirmation of our suspicions.”